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Public Policy for Local United Ways
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United Way of Wisconsin Public Policy Position Statements



A Strong Early Childhood

Children are constantly learning right from birth. Their early years are the foundation for growth and development and what they learn during those years depends on the experiences they have each and every day. Access to high quality early care and education is critically important. The early years of a child’s life—when the human brain is forming— represent an important window of opportunity to develop a child’s full potential and shape key academic, social, and cognitive skills that determine a child’s success in school and in life.


High Quality K-12 Education
Kids have a better opportunity for a successful career and life when they receive a quality education. Children generally are learning to read until third grade. By the fourth grade, they should be reading to learn. Ensuring a high quality educational experience is a cradle to career undertaking. Building on a strong early childhood that results in school readiness, supporting students, teachers and schools to focus on early grade reading proficiency, middle grade success, and high school graduation is important.


Financial Stability

Financially Stable Families
The cost of housing, health care, child care, gas and other basics is far surpassing income in America. Many families are barely getting by, even working multiple jobs. 38% of Wisconsin households fall below the basic survival budget and are vulnerable to financial hardship. Helping families attain and maintain self-sufficiency is good for the economy and for families.


Opportunities for Economic Mobility
Access to post-secondary education, technical training and other workforce development opportunities give un- and under-employed workers and disconnected youth the tools and experience they need to make a good living and contribute to Wisconsin’s economy. Communities with a stable, skilled workforce are more economically competitive and have greater potential to attract business and revitalize neighborhoods.



Access to Health and Mental Health Services
Health care is a costly element of any household’s budget. For those that cannot afford health care insurance or have high-deductible an unforeseen medical emergency can mean the difference between household financial stability and long term health. In fact, the inability to pay high medical bills, one of the most common reasons people file for personal bankruptcy, can ruin credit history and set households back for years. In addition in some rural areas of Wisconsin there is a shortage of mental health professionals which results in missed, undiagnosed and untreated mental health needs. It is important that public and private resources are in place to provide equitable opportunities for all Wisconsinites to lead healthy lives.

Prevention of Chronic Disease
Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths each year, and treating people with chronic diseases accounts for 86% of our nation’s health care costs.Understanding the social determinants of health and partnering with the health sector to prevent obesity and chronic diseases is important to ensure positive health outcomes for all.


Connected Communities

Connections to Services
Daily people struggle to connect to the programs and services they need to maintain financial stability and find needed social services often causing time away from work, increased stress and anxiety, and frustration with public and private programs. An efficient means of connecting individuals and families to existing services promotes prevention and self-sufficiency; increases productivity, and streamlines awareness of and access to needed health and human services that exist in every county in Wisconsin.


Maintain a Strong Nonprofit Sector
Strengthening the nonprofit sector makes good economic sense. We work to maintain strong charitable giving opportunities and encourage the growth of public – private partnerships.


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